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Photinus Fireflies

Chloe Cho

“Photinus fireflies are pretty interesting.”

I rolled my eyes.

“The male photinus fireflies are usually 0.4 inches long, and they’re gentlemen—they give gifts to female photinus fireflies. They communicate through lights to attract mates and deceive them—tricksters, I like to call them…”

I began to tune out Mr. Millar’s words, hanging my head to take a peek at Damon, who was sitting to the right of me.

Psst, psst,” I tried to signal, as he wasn’t looking my way. He was looking somewhere else, so he didn’t hear me. Was he really paying attention to this… rant about fireflies? I continued to try and grab his attention, and didn’t notice Mr. Millar walking over.

“Is my lecture boring you, Ms. Ezra?”

I jumped, surprised. I shook my head, feeling heat creep up on the back of my neck as snickers grew louder and louder.

“No, Mr. Millar, I was just…” I sighed in defeat. “I got distracted.”

History of Insects was not a class I wanted to take—I only took it because Damon wanted to take it. I was hoping to have more time with Damon in this class, but the reality was that the class consisted of the teacher babbling for what seemed like hours.

“Good job, ‘Ms. Ezra,’” Simon barked, stuffing his notebook and pencil case into his red bag. “Thanks to you, I’m late to my next class.” I crossed my arms in exasperation.

“Oh, shut up, Simon. If you and Damon didn’t want to take this dumbass class, we wouldn’t even be here right now. Why couldn’t you guys have picked something more fun? Like… I don’t know, History of Rock Music,” I barked back, and Damon laughed. I gently grabbed Damon’s hand as all three of us left the room and entered the hallway.

“You guys are actually gross. I can’t deal with this,” Simon said scornfully. “I’m going to run to class first.” Damon let go of my hand to grab Simon’s red bag. I frowned at that, but didn’t really mind—Simon was his best friend after all.

“Just walk with us,” Damon insisted, pulling Simon’s bag to propel him next to us. I sighed again. I couldn’t even remember the last time Damon and I were alone.

“I don’t want to be a third wheel anymore,” Simon grumbled, but he began to walk with us anyway.

At this point, it felt like I was the one who was being a third wheel.

“Are you coming over today?” I chewed on a beef jerky and lifted my eyes from my phone to look at Damon. He didn’t respond, too occupied with his own phone. I tilted my head in confusion, gently leaning over to look at what was so important.

“Why the hell are you peeping at my phone? What’s wrong with you?” He began to raise his voice, and some heads turned to look at us. I felt myself getting red.

“I wasn’t doing anything,” I retorted, lifting my hands in defeat. “I just wanted to grab your attention.”

“Well, you could’ve just called for me, or grabbed my shoulder.” He grew increasingly angry. “You shouldn’t have invaded my privacy like that.”

I couldn’t help but laugh in bewilderment. “What’s wrong with you? I’m literally your girlfriend.” 

He stayed silent, as if unable to find an answer. Moments passed before he let out a sigh. “I’m sorry. I’ve been on edge recently,” he remarked, looking at me apologetically. I was annoyed—extremely annoyed. But I couldn’t help but give in and forgive him.

“It’s fine. I shouldn’t have peeked at your phone anyways.”

“So are we still on for today? I can come over?” He sat down back in his seat, smiling a little.


“I’m going to stop by the convenience store to grab snacks,” I sighed in annoyance. Damon came over an hour ago, and all he’d been doing was lazing on my bed, on his phone. I think we exchanged eight words this whole time.

“Do you want to come with me?” It really was my last attempt at reconciliation.

“Uhhh no, I’ll stay behind. Can you get me ice cream?” He didn’t even look up from his phone. I stormed out of my house and walked quickly to the convenience store. I didn’t even bother to answer him.

It was really annoying, how he’d been recently. It was like he did a complete 180. He used to be so sweet, and now he was distant and… strange.

I decided I was going to confront him and try to fix our relationship right now. I pivoted my feet, turning back to the direction where I came from. I ran faster than I could think.

I reached my house, and heard soft shufflings from near the door. “Damon—”

“Is this really okay? Won’t she be home soon?” I heard a familiar voice, and my heart dropped.

“Shh, it’s fine. I told her to get ice cream, she won’t be back till later.”

I laid my eyes on a familiar red backpack near my front porch, heart beginning to race. For some reason, I began to think about what my teacher had said earlier in the day.

“But there is something you guys have to remember—”

Simon began to look around, but it was 9 p.m.—he couldn’t see much. On the other hand, Damon’s eyes were glued to Simon’s.

“You should never anger a female photinus firefly.”

Damon reassuringly reached for Simon’s hand, giving it a small squeeze. “Don’t worry about her.” I felt as if bile was crawling to the back of my throat—I didn’t even know what to feel. I felt rage, sadness, confusion. But mostly, I felt betrayal.

“They’re dangerous—and smart. They fake their signals to attract male photinus fireflies…”

My wallet dropped to my side as their lips locked. I stumbled back, accidentally making a noise by stepping on a twig. Their heads swirled around.

“...and the male species end up being eaten.”

I only saw red.

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